Friday, September 26, 2008
Forty eight hours ago President Bush signed ADA Amendments Act that restored the protections of the ADA originally signed by his father in 1990. When the ADA was signed by the current President's father the ADA was considered to be a major advance in civil rights. I vividly recall when the ADA was passed. It was the lead story on many national news programs. I was thrilled and thought that I would share the same my civil rights as my fellow Americans that not disabled. As many know, the Supreme Court was not impressed and in decision after decision gutted the ADA. Fast forward almost twenty years and the ADA Amendment Act is now law designed to restore the intent of the original law. Is the passage of the ADA Amendment Act a success? I hope so but I have become hopelessly jaded. The ADA was ground breaking in 1990 but fell well short of my expectations. American society has remained resistant to change and I am still discriminated against on regular basis as are most disabled people. Why am I skeptical the ADA Amendments Act will make a difference? Much has to do with the reception it has received. Not a single news paper has covered the story. Not a word has been printed about it in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal or other national news papers. In fact I sincerely doubt any American has a clue as to what the ADA Amendment Act is or that it was signed by the President. I could not even find a story about the ADA Amendments Act on every obscure C-SPAN broadcast I get on my TV. So unlike 1990 I have absolutely no expectations the ADA Restoration Act will help disabled people in general or me in particular. I will soldier on with my advocacy and scholarship but I do so knowing the struggle for disability rights is an uphill and thankless battle. Grim thoughts from a gloomy and rainy Friday in New York.